Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Forgotten Contenders

Here is a look at great movies that were completely overlooked by the Oscars this year.

1. Shutter Island - Martin Scorsese doesn't make bad movies, and although this particular one was definitely not his best, and had a crappy release date (seriously, whoever decided to release it January is an idiot), it still was one of the best films of year. It perfectly captured the eerie mood of the prison, and kept the audience on its toes up until the very end. Dicaprio deserved an Oscar nod for his role, and the movie itself should have at least gotten some well-deserved technical nods.

2. The Ghost Writer - Ok, I know that Polanski is a creep, but let's face it the man knows how to make a thriller, and while The Ghost Writer make be a weak entry in comparison to his other films, it was taut, well acted, well written, and extremely well done. A screenplay nod would have been awesome.

3. Please Give - When this comedic gem (and one of my favorite films of the year), got a WGA nod, I was thrilled, and although I knew was too much to hope for an Oscar nod, I was still a little dissappointed it didn't get anything. I've actually  been dissappointed all year that films like this (including Solitary Man and City Island), little gems of movies were completely ignored. Seriously, The Tourist got a GG nod over any of those movies? Travesty.

4. Never Let Me Go - As I have written many times, I found this film devastatingly beautiful, and found the performances of Andrew Garfield, Carey Mulligan, Kiera Knightley, Sally Hawkins, and the whole cast absolutely top notch. I was hoping for at least a score nod for Oscar Winner Rachel Portman's wonderful composition, but alas, it came out empty.

5. Fair Game - I love taut, liberal poltical thrillers. However, usually they end up being overdone pieces with no flare or snap. Well Doug Liman's Fair Game was not one of those movies. Putting the talented pair of Naomi Watts and Sean Penn in front of the camera didn't hurt, and their combined talents helped create one of the most interesting and entertaining movies of the year.

6. Another Year - I was thrilled when Mike Leigh's name was read out for Best Original Screenplay for this beautiful film, but was devastated when Leslie Manville was nominated for either Supporting or Lead Actress. This was truly her breakthrough role, and after starting out strong, her buzz quickly faded, leading to snub after snub. A shame.
7. Somewhere - In 2003, the Academy loved Coppola's style enough to give her an Oscar for Original Screenplay. Apparently lightning really doesn't strike twice. I found this film to be similar to Lost in Translation, and I meant that in a good way, particularly the performances of Stephen Dorff and Elle Fanning, but it simply never gained enough traction to even get off the ground.

8. Made in Dagenham - If the Oscars had been held this summer, this film would have been nominated for Best Picture. The buzz that came for this movie was tremendous. But quickly it dissappeared, and although it got some nice BAFTA nods, it's mark in America was never made. I'm still waiting for Sally Hawkins to get that overdue Oscar nod.

9. Barney's Version - Sure it got a lousy Makeup nod (not to offend the wonderful makeup designers out there), but Giamatti deserved some recognition. That was actually one of the few surprises at the Globes, and it was welcomed it open arms. A funny, touching movie that deserves to be seen.

10. The Way Back - Up until about November, I was convinced that this thing was going to make a run. Alas, I was wrong. But I think part of the problem was the fact that there was simply not enough promotion. You have to get your movie out there if you want people to see it. Either way, it is one to check out.

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